It was a pleasure to serve as an exhibitor/resource during Thursday’s Fergus Falls College and Career Exploration Day. I enjoyed talking with students from the region about the world of opportunities in their futures as they met with college reps, professional men and women, military representatives and more.
One thing I spoke about with students is a program that allows them to spend a week working as House page the Capitol in St. Paul. The program is available to high school juniors and applications are now being accepted for the 2018 legislative session. Minnesota is one of very few states to offer a program like this and it is a great chance to gain hands-on experience with our state government.
Page program participants attend meetings with legislators, constitutional officers, members of the judiciary and others. They also assist during House floor sessions and participate in mock committee hearings.
Pages are selected each year through a formal process which includes an application, faculty recommendation and an essay. Stipends are available to defray expenses. December 1 is the deadline for high school juniors to apply. More information is available at this link or by calling (651) 296-7452. Local schools also can provide further assistance.
The page program may only be open to high school juniors, but I continue to welcome visitors of all ages throughout the year. For example, a group of 35 people from Fergus will be coming down for a tour of the Capitol on Monday. They will get a good look at Capitol following the extensive four-year, $310 million restoration of the 112-year-old building.
On a more official legislative note, work continues to bring our state into compliance with new federal ID standards that are being implemented in order to increase public safety.
The Legislature passed a Real ID bill (House File 3) earlier this year and it was signed into law. This week we received news that our state has been granted a grace period by the federal Department of Homeland Security, ensuring Minnesota driver’s licenses can continue to be used for boarding flights and entering federal buildings until at least this coming Jan. 22.
The main thing to know is Minnesotans can proceed with their flight plans and continue to enter federal facilities with their state IDs. We are confident that Homeland Security will continue working with us during this implementation process until the Real ID-compliant licenses are available to Minnesotans.
Look for more as this issue unfolds.
Until next time,